None shall be crowned who has not fought well.

                                                                           ------- 2 Tim. 2: 5

Taken from the book of the same title by DOM LORENZO SCUPOLI
With Imprimatur
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ANY DIFFICULTY in forming a correct judgment of the things we have just mentioned, and of many others also, arises from a superficial notion of love and hatred, from a hasty conception we might form of them at first glance. Since our reason is influenced by blind passions, everything appears in a far different light from that in which it should be considered. Whoever, therefore, desires to entrench himself against such a dangerous and common illusion must carefully preserve his heart free from all inordinate affection.

When an object presents itself, let the understanding weigh its merits with mature deliberation before the will is permitted to embrace it if agreeable, or reject it if otherwise.

As long as the understanding remains unbiased by the passions, it will easily distinguish between truth and falsehood, between real evil masquerading as good, and real good under the false appearance of evil. However, as soon as the will is moved either to love or hatred by the object, the understanding cannot form a true estimate of it, because the affection disguises it and imprints an incorrect idea. When this is again presented to the will which already is prepossessed, it redoubles its love or hatred, pushes beyond all limits, and is utterly deaf to the voice of reason.

In this distorted confusion, the understanding plunges deeper and deeper into error and represents the object to the will in vivid colors of good and evil.

Consequently, whenever the rule laid down before, which is of the greatest importance on this occasion, is neglected, the two noblest faculties of the soul are bewildered in a network of error, darkness and confusion. Happy are those who strip themselves of all attachment to creatures and then endeavor to discover the true nature of things before they permit their affections to be attached, who formulate their judgments by the principles of reason, and particularly by the supernatural guides which the Holy Spirit willingly communicates, either immediately from Himself, or through those whom He has appointed as our directors.

But remember; this advice very frequently must be followed more precisely in those things which are good in themselves, than in those which are not completely good, because there is greater danger of deception. They usually engender a misconceived enthusiasm. Do nothing rashly, therefore, since a single unobserved factor of time or place may ruin everything. A great fault may be committed in the way a thing is done, as is true of many who have fashioned their own destruction in the practice of the holiest exercises.


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